Aug 23, 2017
When visitors attend a memorial, they can see the care and attention of the funeral home staff reflected in the service and in the appearance of the chapel. However, they don’t often see the work that goes on behind the scenes. Directors have a multitude of duties that are rarely viewed or acknowledged by the public. With the emergence of social media and blogging, many directors now have an outlet for sharing facts that most people might not know about their funeral home.
At ASD, we have always endorsed an open door policy and invite funeral directors to visit our facility anytime. We want our clients to feel confident about using our service, which is why we promote a transparent business philosophy.
In our effort to share more with you about ASD’s history, company culture and technology, here is a list of 20 things you may not know about our company.
1. All Call Specialists Use Noise Cancelling Headsets
ASD has invested in state-of-the-art noise cancelling headsets for our Call Specialist team. This ensures your funeral home’s callers can always hear our operators without being distracted by background noise.
2. Vice President, Kevin Czachor, Designed ASD’s First Logo
In 1990, ASD Vice President and Family-Member Owner, Kevin Czachor, created ASD’s first logo while still in college. The logo featured a waiter serving a telephone and was designed by Kevin with a little help from clipart. To commemorate our 40th Anniversary, we updated our logo in 2012 and included photos of dedicated ASD employees. While the waiter may have been replaced, it remains as a cherished piece of ASD’s history. We always have little chuckle whenever a longtime client asks us, “What happened to the waiter?”
3. Our Technical Team Patented an Aural Volume Feedback Detector
ASD developed a patented solution that can automatically detect when one of our operators is speaking too loudly during a call. The Call Specialist is then alerted and can make adjustments to their tone of voice or headset microphone to ensure they are speaking at the correct decibel level. Helping our staff to be cognizant of their speaking voice enhances the quality of calls answered by ASD
4. ASD Mobile Has Been Used in 30 Different Countries
According to our mobile app statistics, ASD Mobile has been accessed by ASD clients in 30 different countries! When directors leave the country, as long as they have internet available they still have a reliable link back to the office that they can reference anytime without incurring long distance fees.
5. Holidays Require Advanced Planning Measures
Every major holiday, ASD creates a special schedule that includes all of our employees. While our Call Specialists work shorter shifts, scheduling all of our operators increased the overlap of employees to guarantee the office is never short staffed. It also aligns with ASD’s all-hands-on-deck approach of the office working as a collective whole to ensure the highest quality of service for our clients.
6. Exercise Work Stations Help Keep Our Staff Healthy and Happy
ASD employees benefit from a unique workplace perk designed to help our staff stay active. Our treadmill and recumbent bike stations allow Call Specialists to move at a controlled rate while simultaneously taking calls. In addition to providing healthful benefits, ASD employees that take advantage of the exercise machines are actually paid more through incremental bonuses and other rewards. Additionally, a new “ASD FIT 4 CHANGE” program was recently created to encourage our staff to take daily walks or to participate in exercise classes in our conference room. By helping our staff meet their fitness goals, ASD is encouraging healthful living throughout the office.
7. Our Call Center Operations is Located on the 2nd Floor
Unlike most businesses, a first floor location is not ideal for a company like ASD that is primarily answering calls, especially the sensitive calls ASD receives. For this reason, ASD’s call center is located on the second floor of the building. We consider every scenario when making decisions at ASD. By having calls answered on the second floor, we are able to greatly decrease noise interference that occurs on the first level. This ensures that our Call Specialists are never distracted or startled by sounds from outside landscapers or passing traffic. Helping our staff to concentrate and remain focused allows ASD to provide the highest quality of service to directors.
8. ASD Provides Advanced CPR Training to our Staff
ASD Supervisors and Managers receive advanced CPR Training and have been taught how to use an Automated External Defibrillator in the event of an emergency. While we hope that we never need to use this device, these safety measures help protect the welfare of each and every one our employees. Preparing in advance for every scenario is central to everything we do at ASD.
9. Our Exclusive RingTracker™ Feature Tracks Our Statistical Goals
While other answering services have difficulties keeping up with the call volume, especially on holidays and during major weather events, ASD has taken measures to ensure your families are assisted without delay. With our exclusive RingTracker™ feature, we can forecast our scheduling needs and and track statistical goals. For example, on New Years Day, ASD answered 91% of all incoming calls on the first ring. ASD was fully staffed on Christmas Day as well, with our staff answering 93% of all incoming calls on the first ring. These numbers were achieved without ever putting a caller on hold to answer another line. At ASD, every caller is given the time and care they need.
10. ASD Can Help Funeral Homes With Coordinating Removals
ASD has developed customizable solutions to assist funeral homes and transport companies with coordinating removals. Our sophisticated system allows us to gather detailed First Call information the removal company needs, contact a specific on-call person depending on the date, time or location of death and notify multiple employees so the on-call director may connect with the family while the transport company is making the removal. We can also copy central dispatch so owners and managers always know the status of every call. By working with ASD to coordinate transports, funeral directors can greatly reduce the possibility of any miscommunication occurring during a removal.
11. We Provide College Tuition Reimbursement to our Staff
A large number of ASD employees are college students or earned their degrees while working at ASD. Many college students have difficulties finding financial aid for college. By providing tuition reimbursement, ASD has been able to help countless employees achieve their academic goals. Many have used their education and increased skills to move up to higher positions at ASD.
12. Our First Funeral Convention was the 2006 NFDA Convention in Philadelphia
In 2006, the ASD team attended our first funeral directors convention. The convention took place in Philadelphia, which is about 25 minutes from ASD’s facility. This gave us an opportunity to show funeral professionals a tour of our building and to introduce our staff to many of the clients they had been speaking with for years.
A photo of ASD Project Director, Lauren Kress, and Sales Office Manager, Stephanie Bradford, at the 2006 NFDA Convention.
After seeing the incredible work the NFDA did bringing so many funeral professionals together, ASD decided we would exhibit at the show every year. ASD is proud to now be an official sponsor of the NFDA Convention and Expo because we understand how vital it is to bring funeral professionals from around the world together to interact and share ideas. It is a truly special week combining fun and sightseeing with enlightening educational sessions and networking opportunities. Below is a collage of the ASD team attending different NFDA Conventions throughout the years.
13. The Experience Level of our Staff is Unparalleled
More than 60 of ASD’s employees worked at our company for seven years or more. The experience level of our Call Specialist team is unmatched by other answering services that are often affected by high turnover. ASD’s rate of retention has allowed us to build a team of skilled and knowledgeable employees who understand the importance of protecting the sensitive calls of funeral homes.
14. Our Sidewalks Utilize Radiant Heat
ASD’s sidewalks utilize radiant heat when atmospheric conditions could present ice or snow. This ensures that during the winter, employees at ASD are safer when entering or exiting our building.
A photo of ASD’s front sidewalks during a major blizzard
15. ASD’s Programs Were Designed With Internal Safety Measures
By building our own state of the art systems, ASD has been able to create in-house safety measures to protect our clients’ sensitive phone calls. Our sophisticated message tracking system automatically generates visual reminders for our Call Specialists when it is time to reach the next person on call. This ensures calls are always dispatched promptly. In addition to this, when one of our Call Specialists handles a First Call, an alert will appear on the screen to notify a Supervisor if a director is not contacted within a short time frame. These internal solutions were designed to provide our clients with peace of mind knowing that their calls are protected 24/7.
16. We Can Send You Messages via Text Message or Push Notification
ASD can send directors both text messages as well as ASD Mobile Push Notifications. While text messages require cellular service, Push Notifications bypass the telco carriers, using the Internet to send a message directly to the device. Push Notifications allow you to respond to messages faster by simply tapping “SAVE” or “DELETE” on the ASD Mobile app. You can also set your own unique push notification contact preferences through the app, including custom sound alerts. These preferences are unique to your phone and can be edited at anytime without affecting the contact settings of other employees. Click here to learn more.
ASD Mobile Push Notification Settings
17. Our Employees Chairs Were Tested Thoroughly
ASD spent over 6 months researching different chairs before selecting the right set that would be durable enough for 24/7 Operations, yet confortable for sitting for long periods of time. We chose the Knoll-Life chair.
18. Major Weather Events Require Advanced Planning and Teamwork
On Saturday, January 23rd as Winter Storm Jonas moved through our area, ASD answered more than 13,900 incoming calls. We did so while answering 98% of all calls on the first ring and 89% by the fourth ring. 20 of our employees slept over at ASD on Friday or Saturday night to ensure they could answer calls the following morning. In addition, a large number of our employees worked remotely from home, adding an extra layer of protection, and we are so grateful for all of the ASD staff that volunteered to work on their day off to assist with calls. This extra support helped a great deal, as many funeral homes lost power and relied on our service through the weekend. We are proud to be able to protect our clients’ reputations for excellence even during such a crippling winter storm.
A photo of ASD’s building as Winter Storm Jonas was moving through our area.
19. ASD Has Always Endorsed Transparent Business Practices
Nearly half of ASD clients have used our service for more than a decade. One of the main reasons our company was able to earn the loyalty of our clients is because we’ve always promoted transparent business practices. To our knowledge, ASD was the first answering service ever to offer clients recordings of their phone calls. Listening to messages lets directors know how families are treated and protects business. Additionally, ASD is the only answer service that provides a RingTracker™ feature that shows clients how many times the phone rang before it was answered. By consistently remaining upfront with our clients, ASD has been able to earn the trust of more than 40% of funeral homes in the country.
20. The United Patent Office Has Issued Five Patents to ASD
ASD has been awarded four patents from the United States Patent Office. The first two patents were for two different technologies utilized by our sophisticated First Call Connect™ feature, the only answering service tool that allows funeral directors to connect directly into a call without inconveniencing the caller with long hold times. ASD’S third patent was issued for our Solicitor Shield™ feature, which is an automatic tool that prevents automated solicitor calls. Our fourth patent was for an internal feature we developed that enhances the quality of calls answered by our Call Specialist team. Finally, in February 2017, ASD was awarded our fifth patent for our MobileFH™ feature, which was also the recipient of the 2015 NFDA Innovation Award. This feature allows funeral professionals to place a call from their cell phone and display the funeral home’s number as the outgoing Caller ID.
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About The Author
Jess Farren (Fowler)
Jess Farren (Fowler) is a Public Relations Specialist and Staff Writer who has been a part of the ASD team since 2003. Jess manages ASD’s company blog and has been published in several funeral trade magazines. She has written articles on a variety of subjects including communication, business planning, technology, marketing and funeral trends. You can contact Jess directly at Jess@myASD.com